Civil union bill in Italy is passed

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Supporters of same-sex civil unions demonstrate at the Piazza delle Cinque Lune in Rome on February 24, 2016. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is bowing to Catholic pressure to remove stepchild adoption rights from the civil unions bill to ease its passage through parliament -- to the fury of gay rights groups. Renzi has called for a vote of confidence on the draft law, expected later this week and without the stepchild clause. / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy is now discussing proposals for same-sex civil unions, but the legislation has caused strong opposition from the church, sparking rebellions from Catholic lawmakers. The Prime Minister Matteo Renzi agreed to amend the bill to drop proposals that would recognise same-sex parenting and adoption. After passing through the Senate in February, the bill today cleared the Lower House Chamber of Deputies, after a confidence vote passed by 369-193 – meaning the bill will become law. The PM admitted that the day of passing the bill is a dayu of celebration for many people.

The bill came about after the European Court of Human Rights upheld complaints of discrimination by same-sex couples, who currently have no legal rights in Italy. However, it has stirred up resentment between the LGBT community and the country’s powerful anti-gay Catholic lobbying groups – with large rallies and political manoeuvring against the measure. Vile signs at one rally linked to Catholic groups compared gay people to Nazis – leading Prime Minister Renzi to tell the Church to keep out of the debate, given the legislation does not actually impact religious marriage.

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